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Cajun Shrimp and Grits

Cajun Shrimp and Grits is all of my favorite things in one dish—spicy, satisfying Southern comfort food. Creamy, buttery grits are topped with Cajun spiced shrimp. As an added bonus, this classic Southern recipe is quick to make, too!

Low angle shot of a plate of shrimp and grits garnished with sliced green onions.

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I love the creamy grits topped with the spicy shrimp. It’s just such a satisfying combination.

Why you’ll love this Cajun shrimp and grits recipe

  • Short ingredient list! This dish has a ton of flavor, but you don’t need a million ingredients. Most of the ingredients are common pantry staples, too.
  • It’s a great way to serve shrimp, which is one of my favorite proteins because it’s so quick to cook. I also like that it is light and showcases the seasonings you cook with it.
  • Cajun seasonings make it super flavorful.
  • It’s homey comfort food that’s also somehow elegant and impressive. Serve it for Sunday brunch OR Sunday dinner.

What are grits, anyway?

Grits are coarsely ground corn meal. They can be made with either white or yellow corn. They’re a staple in the Southern US, often served with lots of butter and cheese (aka “cheesy grits”) or sweetened with brown sugar and served as a breakfast cereal. You’ll see sometimes see them served with andouille sausage, chicken, or other meats, or sauteed mushrooms, bell pepper, and onions.

Overhead shot of the ingredients needed to make cajun shrimp and grits.

Ingredients you need to make Cajun shrimp and grits

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

These Cajun Shrimp and Grits have a short ingredient list. Here’s everything you need:

  • Milk: Use whole milk here if you can. You want the richness, so definitely don’t substitute skim milk.
  • Grits: Use regular grits, not quick grits or instant grits. You can use either yellow or white corn grits. Stone-ground grits are fine to use, but they are coarser than regular grits so they might need to cook a few minutes longer.
  • Salt and pepper: Use kosher salt or additive-free sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Garlic: This recipe uses both garlic powder and fresh garlic.
  • Butter: I always use unsalted butter in my cooking because I like to control the salt myself. If you use salted butter, just be sure to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe. You can always add more if you think it needs it.
  • Cheese: I use a sharp white cheddar, but you can use another cheese if you like.
  • Shrimp: I always buy my shrimp peeled and deveined if possible.
  • Cajun seasoning: I like this Black Magic Cajun seasoning from Spiceology a lot!
  • Lime juice: A hit of acid brings out all the other flavors. You can also substitute lemon juice.
  • Scallions/green onions or parsley: A touch of green makes a nice garnish.

How do you make it

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

This Cajun Shrimp and Grits recipe is easy to make. Here’s how:

  1. First make the grits. Cook the grits by whisking them into hot milk along with the garlic powder and pepper. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes, until the grits are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid. Remove from the heat.
  2. Stir the butter and cheese into the grits, cover again, and then let stand while you cook the shrimp.
  3. To cook the shrimp, melt butter in a skillet. Add garlic and then add shrimp and cook for a few minutes, then flip the shrimp over and cook on the other side for a couple of minutes until they’re cooked through.
  4. Squeeze in the lime juice and add the Cajun seasoning. Stir to incorporate.
  5. Serve the grits in a plate or bowl topped with the shrimp and garnished with parsley or green onions.
Overhead shot of a plate of shrimp and grits garnished with sliced green onions.

What to serve with it

I like to serve a simple side of sauteed greens with garlic or roasted green beans with Shrimp and Grits. You could also serve Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Crispy Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts, roasted asparagus, and Buttermilk Biscuits. Or top them with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms.

If you love shrimp, don’t miss my Instant Pot Shrimp recipe. Or try Instant Pot Shrimp Biryani, Camarones a la Diabla, Camarones al Mojo de Ajo, Sopa de Camarones, and Shrimp Yakisoba.

Low angle shot of a plate of shrimp and grits garnished with sliced green onions.

Cajun Shrimp and Grits

Robin Donovan
Easy, quick, and savory, this Shrimp and Grits recipe is a real crowdpleaser. Buttery, garlicky, and Cajun-spiced shrimp over creamy and cheesy grits—the ultimate comfort food! Best of all, it can be made in under 30 minutes.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Main Dish Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 532 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the grits

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups of water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup uncooked grits
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese

For the shrimp

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 pound medium shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • Chopped parsley or sliced green onions or chives for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Chopped parsley or sliced green onions or chives, for garnish
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Add the grits, pepper, and garlic powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth and lump-free and beginning to thicken.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook the grits for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat.
  • Stir the butter and cheese into the grits, cover, and set aside while you cook the shrimp.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and then the shrimp in a single layer. Cook the shrimp for about 2 minutes on each side, until they are pink and cooked through.
  • Add the lime juice and Cajun seasoning and stir to incorporate.
  • To serve, spoon grits onto a plate or into a shallow bowl and then top with the shrimp mixture. Serve immediately, garnished with chopped parsley and/or sliced scallions or chives.

Notes

  1. You can use fresh or frozen shrimp. If using frozen shrimp just make sure that they are not precooked.
  2. The grits tend to harden very quickly, so don’t panic if this happens when you’re about to serve, just add a small amount of warmed milk and mix until they loosen up. 
  3. You can store leftover Shrimp and Grits in separate airtight containers (grits in one, shrimp in another) for 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, warm the shrimp gently in the microwave in 30-sec intervals; make sure not to overcook. Use the same method to reheat the grits, just stir in some warm milk to loosen them up while reheating.
  4. Freezing is not recommended.

Nutrition

Calories: 532kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 34gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 257mgSodium: 568mgPotassium: 590mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1445IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 335mgIron: 1mg
Keyword asparagus and shrimp salad, cajun, grits, shrimp and grits, southern grits
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on December 6th, 2022
Photo of Robin Donovan

About Robin Donovan

Robin Donovan is the creative force behind All Ways Delicious. She's a writer, recipe developer, photographer, and cookbook author with more than 40 books to her name, including the bestselling Ramen for Beginners, Ramen Obsession, and Campfire Cuisine. Her work has been featured in major publications, both print and digital, including MSN, Cooking Light, Fitness, Buzzfeed, and Eating Well. More about Robin

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